No Rum before playing the Drums
The Privateer was founded by Roman Willaredt and Christian Spöri in 2007. The first name of the band was “Privateer“but it had to change it to “The Privateer” due to a naming conflict with a polish band.
Soon after the first demo-CD “Tavern Tales” which contained two Songs “Stormlashed” and “Basilisk”. After the demo, The Privateer played a lot of concerts in Germany and Switzerland. Positive feedback on “Tavern Tales” was positive and the band decided to produce the next album “Facing the Tempest” in 2012, released by Trollzorn Records. Just one year later in 2013 the LP “Monolith” was released.
In 2017 the band signed to the Austrian label NoiseArt Records and released the newest album, “The Goldsteen Lay” on 28th of July.
In October, 2017 singer Pablo Heist left the band and was replaced by Jonas Piraterie who left the band in autumn 2020.
Since the end of 2022 The Privateer are complete again with Pascal Streb joining the band.
What made you want to become a musician(s) was it a record you heard, a performance you saw or some other event that made you say, this is what I want to do?
“As we are 6 different musicians and each of us has a different reason for creating music. Pascal for example had a music teacher in school who had the idea to create a band with pupils and give them a chance to perform live. A little bit like school of rock but less cool. Kim listened a lot of Rammstein and was fascinated by the drums. Clara started playing in an orchestra, but she lost interest as she was more into metal and rock. She started to create cover songs with her friends who shared the same music taste. At some point she visited a concert of us and saw that we have a violin player in our band, who played one of her last shows. She took her opportunity and stepped in.
Roman on the other hand visited concerts of local metal bands in his teenager years and at some point he thought “maybe I can do this too”. He started to learn guitar together with Chris and the rest is history.”
How did you all meet and begin collaborating?
“Chris and Roman met as kids and became friends at school. They are the roots of the band. Roman was the one who started to teach Chris to play the guitar. Later they came up with the idea to create a band. The other members were also found in the circle of close friends. Today the root still exists but every other member has their own story how they ended up in the Privateer like it exists today. But we all have in common that we have a connection of friendship with each other.”
How did you come up with the name for the band, was there a previous name and if so what was it?
“When we started, we didn’t have any name for the band but the first song we wrote was called “The Privateer”. We liked the topic of the song and as we couldn’t find any better name for the band we came up with the brilliant idea to name the band after our first song.”
What was the driver to be pirate themed?
“We convinced ourselves with the first song that mystic and maritime songs are pretty dope. Roman and Chris were also involved in the live action roleplay scene and the world of pirates offered a lot possibilities for lyrics creation and live performance. Also, it is an interesting field which isn’t occupied by many other bands. So, there is much space to create something really new.”
How big of an influence did Running Wild play into your music and imagery?
“We celebrate Running Wild, one for their top notch classic heavy metal and the other for their incredible party. At the same time, we differ from them quite much in the musical sense by creating an individual mix of heavy, folk and melodic death metal. In addition, we would describe our music as darker and more serious in comparison, both musically and in terms of the content of the lyrics.”
Is anyone in the band classically trained?
“Clara is basically the only one who is classically trained. But Kim also has some classic background, as he played in an orchestra for quite some time. Oh, and I almost forgot: Balon Laser ruled the Saxophone for 8 years in an orchestra. At least that’s what he told us…”
Why did you choose to incorporate the violin?
“First it was just an idea to have more variation in our songs. We thought that the violin is amazing instrument with underrated potential. But we didn’t really know to place the violin parts effectively in our songs. So we ended up that for the most of the time it just covered our lead guitar which wasn’t optimal to say at least. This completely changed when Clara came into the band with her orchestral background.”
What band or type of music are you currently listening to?
“We are pretty open minded when it comes to other music genres. We listen to all kind of electronic music but also to classic heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden, Amon Amarth. Other bands to name are Wolfheart, The Halo Effect, Revocation, Trivium or Meshuggah.”
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
“Of course, we have! We all love to be in nature hiking and exploring. Freiburg our hometown is a really good place for this. Some of us are also a bit nerdy, playing table top games or online games on their PC.”
And as a follow up how do spend time when not creating or performing?
“Unfortunately we are no fulltime musicians. We have ordinary jobs or are studying for our future job. We spend time with our families which also includes cuddling cats! Other than that we like to meet friends, go climbing and travelling to find mystical places for new stories.”
Do you have a funny story or incident that happened to a member or the band that you could share?
“Oh, we have a lot of funny stories. Most of them are not supposed to share for reasons, (ha ha). But here is one we can share: After a show with the great people of Parasite Inc. Clara got mad at Chris because he didn’t brought back his pedalboard into our bus after 2 hours. As Chris saw about which pedalboard Clara was talking about, he was quite impressed as it wasn’t his pedalboard. Turns out it was the pedalboard of Parasite Inc. and they were already desperately searching for it. So we almost stole their equipment by accident.”
Thoughts on other bands that introduce pirate themes (i.e. Alestorm, Ye Banished Privateers)
“It’s kind of the same answer as before. We think they are a dope band and we are kind of looking up to them regarding their well-deserved success. Still, we a are happy that we don’t need to compare us that much with other bands to create our own pirate sound.”
The Creative Process and current release
Describe your creative process when you write new music.
“Christian (Rhythm Guitar) is usually the one who does all the song writing. He comes up with new songs and we decide together what we love and what we’d love to change. Next step is the lyric writing which did Clara and Christian for our last album Kingdom Of Exiles. This might change again, as we now have a new singer with Pascal who also would like to take part in the writing process.”
Do you approach the song writing process with a defined style in mind, adding elements of folk, black or death metal or do you just compose based on your frame of mind at the time? Do you add any of the mentioned elements after you come up with the basic composition?
Chris: “To be honest, it’s more of the latter. I don’t know anything about music theory at all, so I just start writing. But I’m probably influenced by the music I’m listening to more intensely at the time.”
Are there any musicians who inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them?
Chris: “Bands that have influenced me since the band was formed include Iron Maiden and Amon Amarth. Over time, however, many other influences came along. But I remain a big Iron Maiden fan. I love the great twin lead parts, they always work.”
How has the experience been working with your current record label?
“After we left our old label, we were happy to join Reaper Entertainment. With Flori Milz we now have a partner we already knew from former projects. He and Greg are the best! They have the knowhow you need when you release a new album, and we share a very friendly relationship with respect on both sides.”
How do you feel about the recording process, do you find it exciting or burdensome?
“For our last album Kingdom Of Exiles it was quite a journey on the harsh sea. The studio was booked and suddenly we had to write all the lyrics again as our former Singer Jonas left the band. Clara and Chris decided to write them which was quite a process as they never did it before, but we are very happy with the result. And of course, it is always exciting to experience how the new songs develop in the recording process.”
Tell us about the artwork, was there a theme you were looking for or concepts from the album you wanted to incorporate into it?
“The beautiful artwork is made by Dusan Markovic. It’s an artist from Serbia and he convinced us with his amazing fantasy style. We planned to work with him for former productions, but our schedules didn’t match. Now we finally made it and we are so happy that he realized our idea from “Kingdom Of Exiles” so perfectly.”
Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of your latest release Kingdom of Exiles?
“We are more than happy about Kingdom of Exiles how people and the press welcomed Kingdom Of Exiles. As I mentioned we had a lot of bad circumstances during the recording process. So we had to improvise a lot. At the end we are very happy about the result and the problems we had kind of brought new ideas which we never had, if anything worked out as planned.”
Do you have a favorite venue for performing?
“We love to play the venues in our hometown like the Artik which has a great concept. But we also like to come back to venues like the Met Bar in Switzerland. Also, the Backstage Club in Munich is pretty dope.”
How do you feel about playing festivals?
“We love playing festivals. It’s a different feeling compared to playing in small venue which is also great by the way. When we have the option, we try to stay as long as possible and not just for our show. As we enjoy camping and seeing many other bands.”
Describe your worst performance. What did you learn from this experience?
“We perform the worst if we behave like true pirates would. Meaning getting drunk before getting on stage. So, it is important to stay sober before the show. Or at least stay away from the rum. 1 or 2 beers are totally fine though.”
What’s your process for dealing with performance anxiety?
“The most important point is to be prepared as good as possible. Also, we are aware that mistakes will happen. They happen all the time to everyone, and it is natural. We are on stage to have fun with each other and especially with the crowd. To go on stage with this mindset makes it easier to deal with anxiety from my point of view.
How do you handle traveling and being away from your home for an extended time period while you were on tour?
“As pirates we love to be on tour and traveling the seven seas. But we’ve never been away for too long from our families. Now a days it is pretty easy to stay in contact with our families while being away. No need to wait for a bird to transfer a message. The band itself is a family too, which makes it easier for every one of us.”
Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety?
“We all have our warmup process and try to focus on our part of performance. We play our instruments, we sing, we do some sport exercises – each of us has a different focus. Minutes before the show starts, we all come together again. We hug each other with a big smile in our faces because we know the best part of creating music starts now.”
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
“I think we can all agree with Amon Amarth.”
What is your favorite song to perform?
“To make it short: All the songs from the new album.”
All over the world there are different music scenes, what country or where have you had the best music scene experience?
“We didn’t have the chance to tour all over the world yet. But we have seen a few countries in Europe. We can say that we are privileged that we have our roots in Germany where you have a big and diverse metal scene with many festivals. Bands all over the world come to Germany to play here. Still, we don’t want to say that we have the best music scene. We always have a very warm welcome when we play in Switzerland for example. Maybe we would even have a better experience when we would play in the Netherlands, Sweden, or Norway? We just hadn’t had the chance yet. The metal scene is very welcoming in general I would say.”
What is one message you would give to your fans?
“We are overwhelmed by all the support you give us. It may sound like a dead record, but it is true: What we do is only possible because of your support. Only with your trust we could produce Kingdom of Exiles and bring The Privateer to the next level. Therefore, we are very thankful!”
What’s next for the band?
“We play some festivals and shows this year, but we are working already on shows for next year. So, it’s all about being on stage and having a good time with all the nice people out there. Also, there is always space to improve and maybe we are working on new songs already?”